UK and Canada are in close discussions over a potential joint programme, Type 26, to develop the global combat ship for their respective navies, UK Defence Minister Gerald Howarth has said.

The global combat ship is destined to replace the Royal Navy Type 23 frigates by the start of the next decade, according to Defense News.

The combat ship has been identified by the UK Government as a key platform for a collaborative effort with Commonwealth and other allies to increase defence exports in the next few years.

Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand and Turkey have also expressed their interest in the warship programme during recent visits by UK Defence Secretary Liam Fox.

BAE is working on a $202m assessment phase to provide a warship capable of supporting land operations and conducting anti-submarine warfare missions.

The company has also proposed building Brazil’s naval capabilities, including joint development of the global combat ship.